Astrology 101: The Eighth House and Its Meanings

August 10, 2008 by  

Concluding our tour of the malefic houses of the horoscope, the eighth house is thoroughly and completely malefic; it is associated with death and fear. The only neutral meaning of this house is that of other people’s assets, including inheritances; if we want to know whether our spouse will be wealthy, we might look, among other indicators, to the eighth house. This is because it is the second house from the seventh — our partners’ money.

The reason that the eighth house is malefic is because it does not form a major aspect to the ascendant, through which light enters the horoscope. Therefore, the eighth house is harmful to the life force, along with the sixth and twelfth houses.


Despite what some astrologers may claim, we will all die, and it is unlikely to be a fun experience. Traditional astrology acknowledges that the quality of death varies dramatically from person to person. Strong planets in the natal eighth house represent a saving grace that helps us cheat death, or they might give an easy, peaceful death. Malefic planets in the eighth house promise the contrary. A heavy emphasis on the eighth house in predictive techniques, such as the solar return, or in progressions or directions, can indicate death. Most often, the other malefic houses, the sixth and the 12th (possibly the fourth, being the house of endings) will be activated as well.

For example, the French astrologer Jean-Baptiste Morin had an ominous solar return in 1656, well into his 70s. The solar return ascendant was conjunct the cusp of his natal eighth house, and the solar return Sun conjoined the natal 12th house cusp, along with Jupiter, ruler of the natal eighth house of death. The solar return Jupiter, ruling the eighth house of death in the natal chart, was exactly conjunct the solar return ascendant. The ruler of the natal sixth house of illness, Mercury, was conjunct the solar return Sun. Morin died in November 1656. [Data from The Art of Forecasting Using Solar Returns by Anthony Louis.] We can see that the eighth house alone may not predict death in the natal horoscope, and other malefic houses will often be involved as well.


This meaning of the eighth house tends to show up most strongly in horary charts, and disproportionately often, the ruler of the ascendant is in the eighth house, showing the querent’s fear about the issue at hand. Phobias, as such, are more of a 12th house affair. The eighth house experience of fear is more temporary and event-specific.

To round out the parade of horribles, the eighth house also rules the organs of excretion (in contrast with the organs of reproduction, ruled by the 7th house).

Other People’s Money

A couple of years ago, I did an informal study of a couple dozen natal horoscopes of those who made their money through marriage or relationships. I expected to see a strong eighth house, reflecting the spouse’s assets. However, I was disappointed, because it was usually the native’s second house or other personal indicator of wealth that was strong, not the eighth house. It was usually the natal second house or related indicators that were connected to the seventh house ruler, the Lot of Marriage, etc. The eighth house never really stood out in these horoscopes.

There is an important lesson here for astrologers. The eighth house as other people’s money is really only indicative in horary charts, where someone might ask about the assets and wealth of a prospective spouse, customer, or business partner. In the natal context, we would revert back to the usual indicators of personal wealth.

What has been your experience with the eighth house in your chart or that of others?


17 Responses to “Astrology 101: The Eighth House and Its Meanings”

  1. Sari on August 11th, 2008 1:41 am

    Hi Nina,

    you might be interested about a study I made recently about charts that have emphasis in the 8th house . I used Regiomontanus houses in the study. It showed that actually “other people’s money” feature quite strongly in natal charts, but it has more to do with profession than personal relationships.

    Best, Sari

  2. Nina Gryphon on August 11th, 2008 9:36 am

    Hi Sari,

    Cool study; thanks! Maybe that is the difference; relationship money is shown differently than professions working with others’ money. I look forward to reading more on your site.

    Best wishes,

  3. Judy on August 11th, 2008 8:05 pm

    Some interesting tidbits about a personal 8th house experience:

    My younger sister had a close Venus-Mars conjunction in her 8th house at 20+ Sag. Her Sun, at 29+ Scorp, was on the 8th house cusp.

    She was killed in a car accident on her 36th birthday. In the solar return chart for that year, 19+ Sag is on the AC, making Venus and Mars the first natal planets to rise. Her Sun is plop on the SR 12th house cusp. Her death was sudden and violent (Mars), but she did not suffer (Venus), as she was killed instantly.

    Curiously, my little sis was born on the day that Pres. John F. Kennedy was assassinated. She had autism. Her natal Mercury at 9+ Sag was also in the her 8th house; I have often thought this placement testified to her inability to communicate; she was completely non-verbal. Nevertheless, people were very drawn to her–that Venus-Mars conjunction still worked its magic while she was alive.

  4. Nina Gryphon on August 12th, 2008 8:39 am

    Hi Judy,

    Wow; I’m sorry to hear about your sister. Thanks for sharing that. Your sister’s Solar Return is very interesting; I guess Mars rules her 8th house of death, and the SR put her natal Mars right on the Ascendant. As you say, Venus was probably the merciful lack of suffering.

    The other thing with Mercury at 9 Sagittarius is that it’s on the violent fixed star Antares. It’s interesting that she was non-verbal; Sagittarius is not one of the mute signs. I wonder if there was another affliction to Mercury.

    Best wishes,

  5. ads on August 25th, 2008 9:01 am

    I am Pisces acendant, Moon in third, and conjunct planet at 8th cusp

  6. ads on August 25th, 2008 9:28 am

    Sorry for the incomplete comment above,

    Uranus(sag) late 8th, Mars(cap)+southnode in 10th. Though Sat is in 7th but,
    since it is conj strong planets in 8th. According to me/my experience it manifests more in 8th..Like early graying of hair.What do you think ?
    I enjoy a family legacy and inherited property of my forefathers.
    I started research on the 8th house about 2years back when I was unemployed. Sometimes i kind-of get self destructive and hate others. It is
    difficult for me to keep or rather understand people other than my immediate relatives. I am very sensitive and more often feel insecure for no reason(Fear). I do not know Death/transformation-house logic.But i think I need to giveup my native tendencies and learn new ones. Many of strange
    feelings/experiences I cannot describe here. But astrologer
    Carmen Turner-Schott gets to the essence here, dawned on me what the true lesson of the eighth house is. Instead of feeling separate or different from others, we need to think of it as feeling our “Oneness” with others.

  7. theo on September 7th, 2008 10:54 am

    I have a venus mars mars conjuction in aries in the eight house. I do find it rather easy to influence others to give me there money if i have a cause for them. so I thought once I am financially on my feet I could use that ability to start my own charity organzation. so is the eight house good for that.
    my birthday is feb 15 1985. I would be very interested in your thoughts.

  8. Nina Gryphon on September 7th, 2008 3:08 pm

    Hi Ads,

    Regarding your Saturn; is it within 5 degrees of the 8th cusp? If so, it will act as an 8th house planet for you.

    The 8th house may be oneness with others in that we all will die someday, and that most of us do fear death. Still, there are more constructive ways to achieve oneness than by dying!

    Best wishes,

  9. Nina Gryphon on September 7th, 2008 3:10 pm

    Hi Theo,

    Venus conjunct Mars in Aries may indeed make it easy to get others’ money. Be careful that you always do so ethically and for the highest good of the other person; your Mars is strong by sign but Venus is not.

    Best wishes,

  10. theo on September 8th, 2008 5:43 am

    I am hoping to make the world a much better place. I hope not to get to lustful and selfish with other peoples money I am one the most lustful persons I know, but I am learning to channel it into positivity. I kind of see helping others as my revenge against the people who where not kind to me.
    I know it is not stereotpical of someone who wants to help the world but it will keep me focused through the hard times.

    I have always wondered the difference between eight house and fifth house sexuality I ws starting to think that eighth house did not have as much to do with sexuality as some people may think. perhaps it has a lot to do with confessional intamacy. like your darkest fears and your most horrible moments. perhaps this is one reason why people tend to relate it with sex becasue sometimes those things involve sex. I say this because I have had lots of really intimate relationships but not a lot of sex. what are your thoughts on the subject.

    P.S. I was born 6:23 p.m. in new york.

  11. Jose on November 9th, 2008 4:20 am

    What could Saturn conjunct Uranus in Sagittarius in the seventh house reveal about a person’s reproductive organ?

  12. Jose on November 9th, 2008 4:27 am

    Specifically the genitals, or would that be the 8th house?

  13. deepthi on December 20th, 2008 12:53 am

    hi , i have three planets in my eight house. They are mars,mercury and venus. Does this indicate a bad sign. How could be my future. i would appreciate ur reply.

  14. Deepak on March 21st, 2009 9:20 pm

    I have Venus and Jupiter in 8th house in Sagittarius
    is it good or bad for my sex life

  15. Jenevere on April 19th, 2009 8:50 pm

    My sun, venus, mercury, and chiron are in my eighth house in Aries, with the ruler, mars, right on my Pisces descendent.

    At times, I am paralysed by my fear of death. More often, however, it is my fear of loss that tranfixes me. Essentially for me they are one and the same, for the thought of my young daughter losing me too soon, and my fear of losing her, are equally terrifying. At times, it is overwhelming – for days at a time.

    That is the deepest and most profound way my eighth house acts out. I also have a drive like no other to get right to the heart of everything (and everyone), hence my study of astrology (and psychology).

    Though my career has had many different paths and options (Gemini MC), it does always come back around to working with other people’s money. I have spent the majority of my professional years working in collections (off and on… but mostly on).

    With mars on the descendent… well, in *ALL* of my long-term relationships, I have ended up playing the role of rehab counselor, even after the relationship is at an end…

  16. kumar on July 12th, 2009 8:39 am

    Hi Nina,

    for my pisces Ascedant I am having Venus,Mercury,Sun & Mars in my 8th house.I am having a troubled married life resulting a divorce and fathers death and inheritance.

  17. Kay Kraeuter on September 27th, 2012 5:46 am

    When analyzing houses we must separate superstition from fact. The best approach in astrological research is not to adhere to ancient theory by finding charts that fit a thesis, but to research the efficacy of a thesis by researching charts. If one does the proper research on the 8th house, by simply perusing the charts of prominent people with extensive 8th house influence, much of the hysteria surrounding this house disappears. In short, the 8th house doesn’t kill anyone, nor is it a reliable predictor of death, as the facts clearly show.

    The 8th house and its companion sign, Scorpio are gifted with the ability to see through pretense, and get to the truth of any matter. Those with a “heavy” 8th house cannot be fooled, are relentless and yes perhaps ruthless in their pursuit of vengeance, because they genuinely feel that obfuscation and betrayal can never be tolerated. Perhaps, therein lies the confusion with this house; those who are passionate about unearthing the facts and finding the truth, very often are silenced in this quest.

    We find through the opposite 2nd house, that the 8th also governs wealth management and the administrative duties of the dead; inheritances, bequests and the like. Here, we see Scorpios flair for understanding the “big picture” and consolidating intricate financial points as they are applied in all levels of the human experience. Scorpios financial mastery on the world stage comes from an understanding of the origination of power.

    Understanding the undercurrents of power, analysis of objective truths, and the unmasking of hypocrisy are the true cornerstones of the 8th house. The “fear” associated therefore with this house is that of the truth, free of the froth and the social niceties so often attached to political correctness. Can you truly face the mirror? If your answer is “yes,” then you can cope with your 8th house. It is not however, for the faint of heart.

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